Friday, October 23, 2009

Toasty Flowers...

Ever since I got my clay, I've been sketching ideas for jewelry pieces I want to do..last week I settled on a design and have been planning out the piece. Tuesday I started making the intricate flower beads that would've been part of the necklace. Because they were 3d and delicate, I built a wire hanger to hold them up off the ground until they were fired in the kiln. After 3 days, I had them the way I wanted them, and started the kiln. Unfortunately, when I went to put the beads in the kiln I had to keep the door open to position the wire hanger...this caused the heating coil in the kiln to turn up very high, trying to heat the inside while the door was open (something I didn't realize till it was too late). I closed the door, and in a matter of minutes, the alarm on my kiln goes off (the alarm is set to go off whenever the kiln temp gets over 100 degrees higher than what the firing program says it should be). In a matter of 5 minutes my beautiful flowers are reduced to shrivled, blackened lumps.

My Mcguyvered bead hanger (post Kiln)

My little black lumps.

So, today we have learned to put the bead hanger in BEFORE we turn on the kiln.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We had the 1st snow of the year! Ganted, it was about 1/4 of an incha nd was gone by noon, but still it's the principle of the thing. School has been super busy, so I haven't had much time to play with my clay. I'm hoping to get all my studying done today and have tomorrow after church to work on some pieces. We're going out to get Sara's Haloween costume today...she wants to be a skeleton cat. I guess it's a big chance from the fairy princess she's been the last 4 years!

Poor little Ladybird got stepped on by mom's rottie, Annie last night while they were running around the yard..she was limping and crying all night. So, no more play-dates with Annie. I KNOW she doesn't mean to hurt Ladybird, but when you weigh 100 lbs and your playmate weighs 4 lbs, accidents WILL happen. Luckily Ladybird is all better this morning!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Well Tuesday I finally broke out the clay (yay!!). I (attempted) to make some pumpkin earrings for my mom. They didn't come out TOO badly (though I forgot to take pics before I gave them to her). Making them, however I discovered I really hate Kato Polyclay (the brand of clay I bought). Clay has a workability----->durabilty scale. The softer a clay, the easier it is to work with, but the less durable the finished product will be. Firmer clays will make much more durable items, but they are stiff, and can be difficult to soften and condition without something like a pasta machine to use. Kato is at the far end of the durability spectrum, and since I have no specialzed clay kneading machines, it took nearly an hour to get a few square inches of clay soft enough to mold into earrings. So, I will be returning the clay. Luckily, my second choice was Premo brand clay, which they sell at AC Moore. I went down and picked up a few bars to try out at home before buying a large amount over the internet (again lol).

I LOVE it! It's is a folk-sy cat pin I made mom. (all these pic will be slightly yellowed because I used our lamplight to shoot in, as we have no real sunlight in NY in Oct.

A close-up of the pansy decoration (mom LOVES pansys)

Here is a turtle pin I made for myself inspired by the art of Cristi Friesen who I think is a PHENOMINAL artist! (

I am much less pleased with how this came out. The wash came out very, very sloppy and pretty much makes the whole thing look dirty (it's hard to tell in the pics, but trust me, it's not pretty). Next time I'm going to water down the acrylic paint a was a bit lumpy and tended to clump and streak on the piece (I think I didn't wait for the clay to completely cool, so that may have been a factor as well..I was just so impatient lol).

I DO need to find somewhere to set up a mini-studio..just somewhere I can lay out all my tools and not have to keep picking them up and taking them out..this is what our living-room coffee table has looked like for the last 2 days:

I'm really excited about this new medium, hopefully I can get started on a few of the big jewelry pieces I have in my head soon.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Well, my new clay arrived last thursday, and it sits there, mocking me. I haven't been able to play with it yet, because I have rather unexpectadly gone back to school. A BS in Biology doesn't really open any doors to finding a job in the biological sciences..rather it's a stepping stone for getting a masters or PhD in your chosen field, which WILL get you a job. I have been hunting for a job for two months, with very little luck. Then I kind of fell into a course in medical billing/coding. When I get certified I can find a job that is at least not minimum wage, and jobs in the health care field always have great benefits...this way I can much more easily help pay for Matt's graduate school. Unfortunately I came into the course a bit late, so I have a couple weeks of catching up to do this weekend, hence my inability to play with my clay.

However, I'm pretty well caught up, so once Sara and Matt leave for the day, I am busting open that clay! My only concern now is can I remember how to program my kiln still? Lol, clay bakes at about 210 degrees, as opposed to glass at about 900. I told mom I'd do her a cat pin and a pair of pumpkin earrings, so at least I have a goal to practice on today..wish me luck :-). I'll post pics if they don't come out too laughable.